As I listen to J-Hope’s new solo album Jack in the Box and read English translations, something occurs to me. What if all the accolades, the number one albums and singles, all the chart topping and record breaking, history making was just too much. What if all the excessive album buying campaigns and purposely purchasing each song on each album to drive up chart numbers was indeed, JUST TOO MUCH.
There are times that I LOVE being ARMY. I love the camaraderie, the passion, the fellowship that being a part of the fandom allows. Yet, what if, what we think our boys want is not it at all. What if they just want to make music and are just happy that ARMY is happy with what they release. What if by helping them climb to these unimaginable feats just added an immense amount of pressure they were not ready to bare.
This line from the new single Arson, translated by Annie of Bangtan Subs, hit a nerve with me; “Why I started the fire, was for me; Who knew that the world would burn up; When the fire cools down for a second, I see my traces, Fire was too big to put out, and became a huge arson”. Now add images from the MV, of everything around him burning and the fire inside himself leaving him scorched. What if the accolades, rising fame and expectations was too much and left him feeling overwhelmed, and a bit damaged. Just like the char of his exterior appearance at approximately 2:00 in the MV.
Maybe I’m reaching, maybe I’m thinking a little too much, because ultimately I don’t know what Arson is really about. I think back to this year’s Festa dinner. I think about how RM expressed feelings of not knowing what type of artist they were anymore after releasing MOTS:7. They had increased popularity right after the release of Dynamite, Butter and Permission to Dance from the West; especially by those not already into K-pop. It may have made them question themselves even more as artist.
We all know that BTS popularity grew exponentially just during the pandemic. They were on the cover of Rolling Stones, GQ, Vogue and Forbes. They made the rounds of U.S. morning shows and late night talk shows, appearances that required speaking English. Another visit to the United Nations, as special envoy ambassadors this time at the request of then President Moon Jae In. Toured the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and presented Korean artwork with then first Lady Kim Jung Sook. But, what if, all they just want to do is make music. Have a voice that is their own, even if it fails. Even if that music didn’t rank high on the charts or break records,
I know ARMY means well and wants to support as much as possible, to let these seven young men know how much we love them and support them. But, how much is it for them and how much is it for us. Stories of ARMY’s streaming for 24 hours straight to break YouTube records, even at the cost of losing sleep and missing work and school. Individuals spending hundreds of dollars to buy multiple copies and individually buy songs on albums, again to break records. Maybe it is just enough to just listen to the songs, hear the message and fellowship with other ARMYS. When will it be just about the music.
You may only agree with some or none of what I said. But, I hope that what you can at least take away from my little rant is that the best support we can give J-Hope and the rest of the members is to love ourselves, love each other and treat each other with kindness and respect. We are not always going to agree, so if you comment on this post, please be respectful. Listen to Jack in the Box, enjoy our sunshine exploring and showing us his other side.
Until Next Time….